You may have already heard, but today, things will be changing in a big way for io9 commenters, and for those on every other Gawker Media blog: after months of hard work and dedication on the part of our design and tech department, we are introducing - wait for it - threaded comments. What's a threaded comment, you ask? Threading is a way to make comments read more like conversations instead of a bunch of disconnected single replies. Now, when a comment is replied to by other commenters, all the replies will appear directly below the original comment. Each of these blocks is called a "thread". All of this will be self-explanatory once you start using the new system, but read on for a more detailed explainer. The first comment in a thread will have a few distinguishing features, among them, the number of replies in the thread along with the time of the most recent reply. Clicking the reply arrow on the lower right side opens a comment reply input box directly underneath the comment. No need to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to reply. Replies to replies - sometimes known as second or third (or fourth) level replies - will not be indented as is the custom in most forums. Instead, second and third level replies will be collapsed. How are the threads displayed, still in chronological order? Each conversation will be displayed in chronological order. But organization of the conversations overall will be displayed based on popularity. The most popular conversations will migrate to the top. The most recent comment that has no replies will appear on top for 15 minutes before being filtered down. If a more active conversation receives a reply within those 15 minutes, that conversation will overtake the stand-alone comment. Where did the plus and minus go? The plus and minus, which was used to friend or un-friend a fellow commenter, has been replaced by a heart. Friends show a red heart, and the rest are empty. What's the deal with the star again? Star commenters were readers who have 25 or more followers, or were designated as stars by an io9 staffer. With the introduction of threading, the number of followers required to attain star is increasing to 40. Is there a way to view comments the "old-fashioned" way? You can switch to the old style comments layout by clicking the "classic view" link in the comments bar at the top of the threads. Are there any guidelines for io9 commenters? Why yes there are. In fact, we have a set of guidelines that will explain everything to you about io9 rules of commenting. Please hit the link to see how you can be an excellent commenter, as well as how to be argumentative without getting banned. To recap briefly: We will ban people who are insulting, trolling, spamming, or whining incessantly about how they want to hit various lifeforms (usually female). See our full rules for definitions of those bannable offenses. A special note on disemvoweling Disemvoweling is a function in which we remove the vowels from every word in a comment to make it virtually unreadable. The point of disemvoweling is to make it easy for people to skip over offensive comments and to warn the commenter her/himself that they are on the verge of being banned.